Pause to Reflect


I have had a wonderful day, half of it working. It went by quickly! The other half

of this beautiful June 6th day,  I spent walking around the unique and incredible

“Schnormeier Gardens.” This is a place to feel peaceful and harmonious with

nature. The owners allow people to visit only a short time every year. They have

a lot of Asian influences in their sculptures, the beautiful gardens and pagodas.

There is a Japanese garden house, a Chinese pavilion and 75 acres to explore!

Ted and Ann Schnormeier say this simple welcome to people,

“It has been said that a garden can have a soul… but only if it is shared with others.”

While my friend and I sat and reflected upon D-Day today and its being 70 years

ago, we thought: we are so lucky. We don’t have this drama, the horrors and

conflict of that particular WWII to live through. The honest, serious show of

strength that young men and women who were participants in this war is


The fight to save our integrity and defend our freedom from the tyranny of

Adolf Hitler is one that cannot be easily comprehended.  The French people

still praise our efforts in the invasion of Normandy. We left a positive mark,

at least in this corner of the world!

Out to eat, with my good guy friend, Bill, he mentioned that I should include

President Eisenhower, then General, during this period of time. Bill considers

Dwight D. Eisenhower the ‘mastermind’ behind the WWII invasion of Normandy.

When I asked my good friend who had driven me to the special gardens

what she would have done, had she been alive during this time.

We were silent, watching the fountains of manmade waterfalls, splashing and

filling the air with its negative ions.

Breathing deeply and serenely relaxed, despite the serious subject at hand.

When the silence had lingered on for quite some time,  I decided to say,

“I would have volunteered to work on the home front, making factory life

my choice of supporting the war effort. I don’t think I have the fortitude or

inner strength to fight and kill people, even if my family’s lives were in danger;

or my own. I would try to talk my way out of death. I would have wanted

Peace to be the result, but not been brave enough to fight.”

While at work, I asked Melvin what his favorite movie about the D-Day part

of history would be. He reminded me that his overall favorite movie with

war is, Clint Eastwood in, “Heartbreak Ridge.” His second favorite is,

“Flags of our Fathers.”

After thinking for a few moments, Melvin replied, “Patton.” He reminded

me of some of Patton’s character and personality traits were. He also

explained that Patton had a grasp on historical wars, including the Romans.

He also said that while stationed in Chicago, he saw at Fort Sheraton,

a huge portrait of General Patton. He felt that George C. Scott did an

excellent acting job.

He also introduced me to another fact I did not remember or comprehend

its significance. This was that Omar Bradley was the last of the Five Star

Brigadier Generals. There had been only eight others. He led millions of men,

been the head of the United States Army and was a fine and outstanding

example of service to our country. He lived to age 88 years old, a life well led.

The two Generals , Patton and Bradley, had been important to WWII in so

many ways, but hearing Melvin wax on about them, filled my own pacifist

heart with pride.

I am so glad that Melvin was able to remind me, on a personal level of

the impact that having good men to lead the armed forces, meant the

difference in winning the war!

Melvin,  having met General Bradley, when he was older at an Army event

said he took the time to shake many men’s hands.

Melvin also told me that he would have liked to have been involved in

the war in Europe. He was blessed to have been a cook, in many places

traveling the world, from Hawaii, Germany, other jaunts in Europe with

day passes, along with asking to be in a quiet place in the Mid West to

complete his Army time, before retiring.

As we were on the subject of military service, Melvin shared that his older

brother had served during the Viet Nam War. He had been stationed in

Thailand, where his mail was postmarked. But, later, the family found out

he had been in Cambodia, in the ‘thick of things.’ It was not a pleasant time,

not many memories have been shared between the brothers. Melvin has

asked him to tell him more, one retired Army man to another, brother to


Melvin was so surprised that he and his family were never allowed to know

exactly what his brother’s experiences had been.

Melvin says that his brother was in Special Operations, in the Army. He

had sworn an “Oath of Secrecy.” The fact that he continues to be silent

about his participation in the Viet Nam War, along with being vague about

where he was during most of his time, impresses Melvin.

It also made a big impression on me! I know, for a fact, that I would not be

able to make a promise of keeping a secret from my loved ones, like his brother


I would not recommend “Celebrating D-Day.”

The word “celebrate” doesn’t seem like the right choice.

I would hope that you would take time to pause and reflect.

If you were active in any military service or married to a member of the

Armed Forces, I salute you!

I hope and pray you did not lose a member to any war or skirmish.

In that case, I sympathize and honor the dead.

And, sincerely thank you.


15 responses »

  1. Thanks for this, Robin. I didn’t lose any relatives to war, to my knowledge, except one soldier related by married who died of illness in the Spanish-American War! But I had a great uncle who was shell shocked in WWII. My hat is off to the heroes!

    • Thank you for sharing that you may have been related to someone who died of illness in the Spanish-American War. I forgot about that war, wondering if that editor who wrote the War Letters book had any letters from that war. I imagine he did!
      So sorry about your great uncle being shell shocked in WWII. I appreciate the sentiments of “Hats off to the heroes!” Hope you have a lovely and relaxing weekend! I will be going to the beach, for a party of my coworker, Darryl’s son. It will be fun, taking the M & M girls. May write Monday about that revelry! I have a more quiet post ready for tomorrow, Sunday and all! Smiles, Robin

      • I hope you’re having fun, Robin! I can’t wait to her about it! I am missing Michigan and the lakes so it really sounds good!

    • Thank you for agreeing with Melvin on his choice of war movies!
      I am glad that my friend chose to drive me away from my rather quiet life to see this place that is heavenly and spiritual. The home was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright but we could only see it from the outside. I was happy to shake the hand of Mrs. Schnormeier! Smiles, Robin

  2. Loved reading this, Robin. My daughter’s godfather served in the army. They are very brave, our military men and women. I’m like you. Not sure if I could fight and kill. That garden sounds beautiful! 🙂

    • Thank you so very much for sharing this personal story about someone who served in the Army! I need to see some of your newest recipes and Fiesta Fridays are always so much fun! You work hard on your presentation on your blog, I appreciate this so much!

  3. Hi Robin, I have always been taught in my family to hate war for any reason whatsoever. My Dad grew up in Nazi Germany and he was forced to serve. He lost his brother at the tender of 16. No one knew where the body is, and couldn’t bury him. he went MIA. My grandfather refused to bomb a city in Russia, he told his general these are people too, they have families, they don’t deserve to die. So he deserted his unit and he became a prisoner of war for 13 years. This was a great sacrifice, but he chose peace. My Dad himself became a prisoner of war in France for 4 years. He has many stories of such bitter intense hatred against any Germans, it is hard for me to understand. For instance, when Dwight Eisenhower found out about Auschwitz he was so angry that he ordered all the allies not to feed any Germans in the prison camps. My Dad almost died because of this. I might not have been born if it had gone on any longer. When my Dad brought his family to America, he became a teacher at a Quaker school. They advocate for peace. I’m not a Quaker, but having gone to those schools all my life, it really made an impression on me. I do believe that men should be able to resolve their differences without killing each other. I know it seems idealistic. But I do believe it could happen, if all parties concerned valued life. All life. Always.

    • This is a good message for Peace. The tragically sad results of war and your own family’s personal experiences were heart-wrenching. I am so sorry about what happened with your father’s brother and that he was so young. I agree ‘tender’ age of 16 should not have had to serve in war. Wow! 13 years of punishment for your grandfather ‘doing the right thing,’ according to his conscience, is terrible and sad, too. I am sorry that your father ended up a prisoner of war, also. I don’t think we should torture (waterboarding or starving) prisoners of war, since unless they are judged in a court of law and then placed in jail, it is not our place to do personal judgments. Sorry about Dwight Eisenhower. I quoted or paraphrased two men’s opinions since over a year ago, I accidentally espoused too many of my own feeling on a post, alienating ones who read my posts. I made ‘peace’ and backed off, but my two brothers, had contemplated going to college in Canada and not coming back until after Viet Nam, because of my twin cousins’ experiences. Luckily, the ‘skirmishes’ or ‘war’ ended before they left high school.
      My grandmother was born in Germany. I have written the love story between my grandpa and her. Also, how she scolded my brothers to never play Germans against the Americans or Cowboys vs. the Indians. After we started watching, “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” we had played ‘war’ between Russians and Americans. She said never to do these things again. She did not let others know her background, ashamed of being German, but did not want us to personally ‘hate’ them either. We definitely need your last words to be true, value life and all life, always. (Except child abusers and pedophiles, those I have no sympathy for!) Thank you for the good words to add to this post. Sincerely, Robin

      • thank you Robin for your long post. I truly appreciate it. It just made me realize that I wanted to share this part of my history, just to let people know that everyone is a victim in a war. And that’s why I always advocate peace. It comes from hearing all these stories from members of my family. Thank you for sharing your story about your grandmother. We are all connected! really. one way or another. hope you have a great new week ahead.

  4. Thank you for this post Robin. It is full of wonderful reflections and considerations. I didn’t celebrate the day as such like you suggested. But thought of the men and women world wide who sacrificed so very much.

    • You are most welcome, I really liked your powerful and peaceful message, much more than mine! But I do respect and feel those who lay down their lives, needed to have my support, too. I don’t like to use the word, “celebrate” when it comes to war… we are on the same page, in our hearts, I think on this. ~Robin

      • Robin, I think you are correct. Same page and same sentiments. And your message was heartfelt and sincere. And I thought it one of my favorites so far.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth! It was hard for me to write since I have been interested in the American Revolutionary War and also, our Civil War, but not so much WWI and WWII. I really wanted to give everyone a chance to comment and add to this post. I like the way you put this, “the date that changed the course of the history of our free world.” You summed it up, nicely! Smiles, Robin

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